There are moments of shouts, screams and violent hollering of my own voice amplifying throughout my skull; as I continue my days in silence. I knew there wouldn’t be closure when found out that my father had died. Never for once did I think that the House of Yahweh would help provide any answer. At least expecting these things helped somewhat along the way. The judge had ordered an autopsy, and perhaps this just prolonged our grieving process, but also, maybe it helped it be more gradual.
I can’t explain my distaste for the legal system down in Baird. When I asked the local law enforcement if they had asked the person who called 911 if they called right after discovering the body the officer said “Well no, I assumed they called us right away.” When I handed them a prescription jar with someone else’s name on it, filled with a strange powder that I had found next to my father’s bed, I was told it would take several months before I would get an answer to what it was. When I told them that my father was told to empty out his bank account shortly before he died, and that he also opened up a life insurance policy shortly before this, the response I was given was “Hmm, that’s really interesting.” Spoken through a dry, quiet and calm voice.
But my purpose isn’t to try and point fingers at what may be considered lackadaisical law enforcement or worse, bribed corruption, because I don’t believe that the good men down there would do any such thing that would hurt their reputation, or the reputation of those close to them. Instead I would rather give more attention to a much more serious issue.
My father is dead. For what reason, other than a simple hyoid-fracture, we might never know. Maybe it was one his own accord, maybe he was consoled into doing this. Both reasons stand equally present in my mind, and since the House of Yahweh has always been nothing but money hungry, I’m sure he could have been granted comfort by David Heimerman, that after he died, it would be like a blink of an eye, and the “Ressurection” would have come; and he would be reunited with his wife that I buried him next to. But these are all thoughts that I will eventually need to set aside, simply because it doesn’t matter considering the potential for the following situation.
Since I left the House of Yahweh in 2004, rumors has expressed to me that things have gotten much worse. The number of followers plummeted to around 600 hundred people, and from my understanding, the majority of these people being women and children. Most of the men are priests, and most of them have many wives. When the boys grow into men, if their fathers were elders, then they are most likely to become elders, if they are not, then their job is to work and pay their tithes. Eventually the men leave, but the women and children stay.
As I entered on to the cult grounds, when Matt Stubbs was driving me back there, I saw Debbie Webber, the mother of one of my greatest friends. She was driving by in the old purple van that I had also ridden in many times when I was a boy. I couldn’t help but notice how fatigued she looked. The bags underneath her eyes, her wrinkled skin that I shouldn’t have been able to notice from a distance. “She doesn’t look well” I said to Matt. “Well she lost her child several months ago.” He said. And she did, but he left the Cult many years ago. And he said this ass if the heathen he was talking to couldn’t remember that she was taught for him to be dead to her when she left, just as I was taught to be dead to my father when I left. No, something was wrong, and it was something that’s goes much deeper than her child’s passing.
Rumors of domestic violence were new to my ears. I knew men sometimes hit their wives there, but now it seems to be accepted. And on top of all the multiple marriages, I’m worried what might come next. Sincerely, I am worried.
The cult is secretive, there are cameras spread out over a hundred acres of land to watch everyone. People won’t talk on their cell phones near the property because they believe that Yisrayl is bugging them. Everything has grown to such an extreme, and at the same time, has still been able to keep itself completely closed off to the outside world.
If there’s anything I can do with my father’s death, it would be to use it as a warning signal to the rest of the followers, and the world. The problem with these types of sects, is that we don’t learn about them until they implode on themselves. We don’t know the names of the people until it’s too late. Yisrayl Hawkins is over 80 years old, and soon, something will happen. Is this another Jim Jones? Is this another Waco? 10 years ago I would have said, “Likely not.” But now, I’m incredibly worried about the lives and safety of those innocent children, and all the young ladies who’ve been told “If you marry an elder or Yisrayl, you will surely make it into the kingdom of heaven.”
I would surely hate to see it happen; others of large numbers being encouraged to take their own lives. I would also hate to be the local law enforcement during that time as well, and only having to question myself for the rest of my life “Could I have done something to help prevent the death of these children?” For all I can do is write and talk about the situation, and surely I will, because the inhumane treatment of the women and children in this cult needs to meet justice before there’s no more chance.